Friday, 24 November 2006

The Stormont Pantomime.

It is one month to Christmas today and the pantomime season is in full swing so I suppose it's only fair if Michael Stone felt that those people up in Stormont should not be forgotten nor left out of the festive frolics. For a pantomime is what ensued today. Michael Stone (a known and convicted killer) was able to pass one of three security check points at the main entrances to the Stormont Estate, unchallenged, bag unchecked and presumably unrecognised. He was then able to stroll up to Stormont Building, carrying his sports bag containing weapons of destruction: a gun, a knife and, what the police have described as, a viable device (lord only knows what that means). He was then able to spray a slogan on the walls of Stormont itself and still go unchallenged. It wasn't, in fact, until he entered the building and threw the sports holdall at the security people at the same time shouting that it contained a bomb (or words to that effect) that somebody decided it was time to take some action.

If you have seen the BBC coverage of what happened next then you will surely have to agree that pandemonium broke out. While security personnel were grappling with Mr Stone eventually other personnel thought that it was time to clear the building and politely asked the camera-men to please stop filming and leave (yes they did say please). Of course the gathered throng of press and camera crews were not going to miss the opportunity to capture as much of the action on film as possible so that we have shots of camera tri-pods and bags strewn across the main hall. If they had seriously been trying to evacuate anybody here then they would have had no chance of getting to an exit safely. We also see the security personnel grappling with Stone and the photographers milling around the action all within a few feet of this viable device. This man, the security personnel and anybody in the immediate vicinity should have been removed to a safe distance but they remained there until the police arrived.

The latest report from the BBC says:

Between six and eight devices have been defused at Stormont after loyalist Michael Stone stormed the building, Sir Hugh Orde has said.

The Northern Ireland police chief said "their potential for death, destruction and injury is being assessed" but added they were "fairly amateurish". That's comforting (c:

Questions must be surely asked as to how and why a known killer was able to pass through security checks and go unchallenged, questions must also be asked as to why there was no police presence round Stormont Building during an extremely important political debate. I know that security has been relaxed around local politicians due to the on-going peace process here but that does not mean that the possibility of something like this happening should have ever been ignored. Unless of course somebody wanted this to happen!

The link for the video above may not be working properly so go here: and look for Michael Stone tries to enter Stormont.

... and a frightening follow-up story

UDA hit squads sent to hunt Stone